10 Worst Episodes Of Otherwise Excellent Sci-Fi TV Shows

Every great Sci-Fi series has one or two stinker episodes and these are the worst of them all!

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Everyone has their favorite television shows they go back and watch over and over again, but if you’re like most people, there’s an episode you skip while binging. Unfortunately, an amazing series rarely gets it right every single time, and there’s always that one episode the fans just didn’t like.

This is especially true of science fiction series, which tend to go after various themes that can often be divisive among fans. A bad episode in an otherwise great series might offend, or it simply may cover a topic that’s boring to most viewers — whatever it is, it’s no good.

This can happen when a guest writer or director takes the show in a direction the fans don’t like, but in reality, it can be the result of a hundred little things that simply didn’t work. Beloved characters doing something that’s out of character can send fans to the Internet to express their rage — it happens all the time.

This list takes a look at the sci-fi series that are arguably some of the best out there, but they still have that one episode. They can’t all be Emmy Award-winning pieces of perfection, so take this list as a guide of what you can safely skip if you decide to get into one of these otherwise fantastic series.

10. Star Trek: The Next Generation - “Shades Of Gray”

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CBS Television Distribution

Star Trek: The Next Generation took some time to find its footing. There were some bad episodes early on, which is relatively normal — especially for sci-fi. The second season was mostly strong, but the 22nd episode, "Shades of Gray," is often cited as one of the series' worst.

First and foremost, "Shades of Gray" is a clip show, and viewers rarely enjoy seeing a rehashing of scenes from previous episodes repackaged into something "new." Still, clip shows can be forgiven (sometimes), but not in the case of this episode, as it doesn't even look back on anything particularly interesting.

The plot sees Commander Riker infected with an alien virus, which will kill him in only a few hours. Dr. Pulaski puts him in a machine that will stimulate his neurons, which helps to fight the virus. As he lay inside the machine, he dreams of his past adventures; hence, it's a clip show.

This causes some problems when his mind returns to his passionate endeavors. The virus feeds off those, so Deanna helps him to evoke negative dreams instead. She does this, and it begins to work, so she ups the intensity. More clips roll, and in the end, the virus is defeated.


Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, writer, and game designer. Jonathan retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects. He writes for ScreenRant, CBR, NerdBastards, Listverse, Ranker, WhatCulture, and many other sites online. You can check out his latest on Twitter: @TalkingBull or on his blog: jonathanhkantor.com